Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top in Spain

2015 F1 testing

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Mercedes were quickest on the penultimate day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, although Lewis Hamilton was slightly slower than team mate Nico Rosberg was yesterday.

Hamilton set a best lap of 1’23.022 on the soft compound tyres, 0.3 seconds slower than Rosberg had managed. He covered less ground than most drivers as Mercedes spent the middle part of the day working on an “experimental set-up change”.

Williams and Ferrari appeared to narrow the gap to Mercedes as Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel respectively set laps within 0.3 seconds of what Hamilton managed. However both used the super-soft tyres to do so.

Force India achieved an impressive feat with their VJM08 on the car’s second appearance: Nico Hulkenberg covered 735 kilometres, the most ground covered by any car in a single day of testing so far this year.

McLaren, however, mustered just 39 laps as Kevin Magnussen drove the MP4-30 for the first time. An oil leak ended their day.

The final pre-season test of the new season concludes tomorrow.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifferenceTyres
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes W061’23.02276Soft
2Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes FW371’23.2621020.240Super-soft
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari SF15-T1’23.2761360.254Super-soft
4Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault STR101’24.1911321.169Super-soft
5Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes E231’24.2001161.178Super-soft
6Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari C341’24.4771231.455Super-soft
7Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes VJM081’24.9391581.917Super-soft
8Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Honda MP4-301’25.225392.203Soft
9Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault RB111’25.7421282.720Medium

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 64 comments on “Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top in Spain”

    1. I wonder if the track was slower today, cuz i expected more from Williams with supersofts and Hamilton’s lap wasn’t impressive compared to Rosberg yesterday.

      1. It was colder in the afternoon

      2. Apparently it was cooler weather today. While following Autosport’s live commentary they had said as much, even mentioning at one point that they considered the conditions to be properly cloudy at one point in the afternoon & noting a significant drop in track temperature.

        1. Lewis said, ” It wasn’t a spectacular day. The track seemed to have lost grip to the last two days, so it wasn’t the best in terms of feeling, but we got some good running done , and I feel geed in the car.”

    2. Any info on tyre compounds.

    3. As expected Merc will be on its own for the title battle, but the excitement will still remain on the second spot. I can not wait to see how Mc-Honda will do compare to those already fighting in that group i.e Ferrari,Williams and RedBull. I bet it’s going to a great year for F1 and Lewis will achieve his third title.

      1. A great year for F1? Yawn.

        1. It is going to be a repeat of last year. That is far from proper entertainment!

          1. Compared to 2011 or 2013 it was heaven.
            On 2011 in april we knew who would be WDC. APRIL, man!!!

            1. I think we’re in for another 2011 this season if Mercedes are as far ahead as we think.

              Hamilton was clearly the better driver in Mercedes last season and that’s not going to change. Rosberg will give him a good fight and might win every so often but I think Hamilton will walk away with the Championship easily. I think it’s always a lot better to have a few teams capable of wins so hopefully Williams Red Bull and Ferrari can pick up a few each to keep things interesting!

            2. With Mercedes’s domination, we’ll never have such entertaining seasons as 2010 and 2012. Mercedes’s domination is far more absolute and boring than Red Bull’s ever was. Other teams were far closer to Red Bull than they are now to Mercedes. In Red Bull years there was at least hope, however elusive.

            3. @Edgar: This year we knew it on January the first!
              Never the less I think it is going to be exciting, and I love to follow Kimi’s testing performance and what will McLaren Honda evolve into? Will Williams keep up the good work and will Sauber come back?

            4. It is sad to start the season wondering if Lewis or Niko will win each race. I understand the purists, but their has to be competition or it is not much of a sporting event. Fans have always enjoyed cheering for underdogs, but in F1 currently, that will only happen if the Merc’s wreck each other or have reliability issues. As for Lewis, winning championships by beating one car is a bit hollow. It hardly matters who you put in the Merc, they would fight for wins.
              We can only hope we have some good racing, but it is looking more likely each race will be Mercs out front managing the gap, never really pushing hard.

              The most enjoyable sports for fans are those that keep you on the edge of your seat til the final buzzer, sadly, this year is looking to be another snooze fest.

            5. Dave mcgrory
              2nd March 2015, 1:40

              Why because Lewis won it is just as much off a guarantee that he would win you hypocrite

          2. @irejag

            That is far from proper entertainment

            If entertainment is your first priority, perhaps you should be watching something other than sport?

            1. Then what’s the main point of watching any king of sport?

            2. @f1mre To appreciate the execution of a team or individual within the rules to be better than their peers.

            3. Sports don’t exist to entertain audiences. Sports are born out of competition between individuals and/or teams. The audience’s first priority is usually to support their favorite individuals and/or teams. That any of us find any sport entertaining is a happy byproduct, not the reason for its existence. Sadly, in today’s commercialized world, that seems to get forgotten in favor of those selling the “show” trying harder to appease the people they’re selling it to (and the resulting spoiled brat attitudes when the show displeases them) rather than worrying about preserving the rule, spirit & fairness of competition.

            4. @Aldoid

              The audience’s first priority is usually to support their favorite individuals and/or teams.

              I strongly disagree. That is never the case for many people, never mind “first priority”. I think what takes priority is enjoying the display of complex skill and competition that results from the arbitrary competition.

              In F1 there is a wide plethora of skill sets to behold, designers, engine builders, who we don’t see in action, but see the results of their work. Then there is pit stop mechanics, super-capable drivers and the racing that results between them, and other skill sets.

              I’ve never understood this need to have a favorite team/driver/player… And I’ve never had one, I enjoy the performance from wherever and whenever it comes. My status as a viewer depends exactly 0% on there being “favorite drivers” of mine.

              I can watch a half hour of rally on-board footage in amazement and appreciation of each little maneuver, without even knowing who the driver is.

              Sure, I agree with you on the main point, that the sport, the competition should remain the priority and should not be compromised, especially with things like fanboost.

              But otherwise, I don’t think you actually wrote very well what sport is. Sure, irrational nationalism and tribalism often sells a lot of tickets, but that is not what being a viewer, a fan of a sport, is all about.

            5. You really need to add the ability to “like” posts! :)

            6. @ Mateuss

              I actually agree with everything you say. I guess I’ve been so used to dealing with the rabid fans of various sports that I unfairly lumped them all together. There are various sports (many other forms of Motorsport as well) that I absolutely enjoy watching even though I haven’t got a dog in the fight, so to speak, so I definitely agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. My bad. Good post. Kudos.

            7. This is why the sport is dying instead of embracing new fans we’re pushing them away. I was new to the sport in 2012 and now I’m 18 which I assume is pretty young for someone to be interested in F1 here in the states.

              But in the US we have one of the most exciting and profitable sports on the planet even though it’s audience is only North America and that’s the NFL. Honestly F1 has quite a few things to learn from bigger and more successful sports around the world that are growing and not suffocating new fanbases. I can’t get kids my age into F1 here in the US because it’s boring and there are much better sports to watch for yes you guessed it excitement, if you want to grow the sport you’re going to have to make it more exciting or else the sport will die after it’s few remaining fans do. This isn’t how you grow a sport this is how you end it.

            8. @keithcollantine Every athlete in any sport participates because they want competition, money, glory, and fame. NONE of those things can be accomplished without the fans watching the sport. And if fans don’t watch the sport there is no one to buy merchandise, and if no one buys merchandise then advertisers will pull out, and if they pull out you don’t have a sport, and if you don’t have a sport then the athletes won’t come out to play.
              I bash F1 for not being entertaining, but I am going to keep watching because I hope I am wrong. But F1 is only hurting themselves.
              Seeing Hamilton win is great if you are a British fan, but what about North Americans, the rest of Europe, South America, Australia…. and so on. F1 is a global sport, and yet they push fans away, just like you guys are right now by telling us that “F1 might not be your cup of tea,” or “Maybe you should be watching some other sport!”
              F1 will die if continues to only cater to “hardcore” fans.
              Entertainment pays the bills.

            9. Why sell tickets and show on TV if it’s not entertainment?

            10. Dave mcgrory
              2nd March 2015, 1:43

              Lewis Hamilton is absolute certainty for the championship. But the fans hypocrisy by slagging seb while Lewis wins in a car so much faster is breathtaking

          3. You might enjoy some good old WWE instead, then. Formula 1 is clearly not your cup of tea.

        2. I don’t get F1 or maybe I don’t get the fans. In every other sport the best team/person wins and they are praised for doing so. Bolt, the fastest man alive is expected to win because he is fast. If he was in F1 the fans would want him to lose to give someone else a chance or it would be boring. Merc are the current champs because they built a better car and have 2 good drivers up to the job of winning. Before that it was Redbull. Before that Ferarri and so forth. Am I missing something? The best team/person wins. No wonder Bernie wants to fill F1 with gimmicks to appease ‘fans’ so that the lesser team wins. But still the so called ‘fans’ complain. F1, the sport where you get disliked for being better than those around you, not really a sport after all. Lets pray that the rule makers introduce something to make the losers win to make everyone happy.

          1. @Tiomkin: I think that the Merc fans are pleased but all those who are fans of other teams/drivers are unhappy, when the outcome is sort of evident. But many F1 fans focus on the driver, but as experience teaches: the driver is merely the pilot and the car and the team behind is the most important, at least as far as the drivers, who are in F1 on their own merits, goes.

            1. You don’t get this attitude with other sports. I watch snooker and loved when Hendry, Davis or O’Sullivan won. I never heard it said it was boring. But in F1 they seem to want a different winner every week. Why not just draw lotts to see who wins a grand prix? Maybe swap drivers and engineers round on the roll of a die? That way everyone would be on the edge of their seat and any team could win. I am pleased who ever wins as I recognize it’s a team effort and they worked hard to earn it. If one teams builds a better car then that is just tough on other teams. Maybe like in all other sports they should try harder. I hope Merc destroys the field for years to come or Redbull or Mc-Honda…..(insert team).

          2. While I do find it odd that a surprisingly large number of people thought that last season was not entertaining, I’m less surprised that some (many?) people aren’t satisfied by seeing a dominant team.

            My reasoning here could be wrong, but I think this arises for two reasons; first, I think there are other sports where people get fed up with domination – to use an example from football, Manchester United’s years of domination has brought them at least as much hatred as praise and many are positively gleeful about their comparative struggles of the last couple of years (though I would grant you, some people seem to have become fed up with Mercedes domination rather quickly). So, I don’t think what we see in F1 is unique.

            The second reason is that in many other sports, the human component plays a larger role, and I think many people are more impressed by the spectacular achievements of a human being (e.g. Bolt), than they are by the achievements of a machine (designed by people of course, but one step removed); it seems to me they would rather have the person be the main story, and thus get bored easily through not connecting to the achievements of the designers and engineers.

            1. Hmm, having just re-read my post it’s not really two “reasons”, more an argument for the problem not being entirely unique to F1, along with a reason why the problem may nonetheless be more acute.

      2. Interesting the strong defense of domination here. Never really saw any of that in the Vettel years, yet now it’s suddenly A-ok for some reason. Sigh..

        1. There was plenty of defense of the Vettel domination, but it outweighed the dislike or it.

          At the end of the day, for a large portion of the F1 viewers if their favourite team/driver isn’t winning then they become unhappy with the sport, This isn’t by any means every F1 viewer but I think to be a true fan you should be able to watch your favorite driver race and lose will still enjoying the race itself. Just my opinion of course.

          For me personally, it wasn’t so much Vettel winning all the time that bugged me, but rather his personailty during some of that period, he went from being quite a funny guy to an overly serious and often spoilt child when he didn’t get his way on the track or in the garage, Lat season we started to see, when he realised that he wouldn’t be able to defend his title and once he finally decided to leave Red Bull, I started to see some of that fun come back into his interviews and that is still coming back as shown in this interviews.

          One thing is clear though, you cant just be a talented driver, you need a personality and fan backing. Being a F1 driver is a package and some have got it and others haven’t.

          1. The difference between the Vettel era and current Merc era is that when Vettel won his first championship he didn’t actually win it until the last race of the year. He didn’t even lead the Championship until after that race.
            In his second year, we had a different winner in the first six races.
            My point is, each year he won, he won later in the year, not after the first race! I don’t really care if Merc wins again this year, what bothers me is that they do it my too much of a landslide. That said, I don’t believe that Merc should be handicapped in anyway at all, it is just frustrating to see the other teams can’t seem to make a step forward. Merc deserves all the praise for being the best, as much as I hate to admit it.
            I just don’t feel that it is good entertainment. Perhaps, as some others have already mentioned, we as fans could see or feel the more human element of the sport. In our current era, none of these drivers are anything more than drivers. Unless they have been in the sport for a long time, we don’t really know their personalities. We don’t really see the sense of humor among the pit crews. All we see is helmets.
            The sport is too cold to make up for the boredom on track.
            I don’t like starting to watch a race with the thought, “I hope the Mercs have mechanical issues or get stuck in a gravel trap.”

            1. In his second year, we had a different winner in the first six races.

              Vettel won 5 of the first 6. You’re thinking of 2012, forgetting that each of his competitive years alternated with ones which became dominant- 2011 had it right from the start, although 2013 was admittedly a slower starter.

            2. Sure I get that the Merc domination might turn some people off, especially if they are not fans of the team or either driver, but personally I’m loving the rivalry, and having survived the MS/Ferrari era, at least we are getting real racing between two very close combatants.

              But then unlike some people I’m also not ready to hand LH the trophy and I expect NR to be a harder teammate to him this year than last. So I’m guessing some who are rooing this domination also think it will always be LH in front, and I will need to see that to believe it, as always.

        2. Dave mcgrory
          2nd March 2015, 1:50

          Of course because he is not Lewis the genius absolute hypocritical clowns

    4. I think Force India proved that a Known devil is better than an unknown angel. Maclaren(Honda) has got a lot of distance to cover. Good luck Mclaren for 2016.

      1. at least we expect for mchonda to do something and challenge for a victory…. sooner or later…
        what do we expect from FI??? :/

        1. If Hulk covered 735k’s (?) in one day then maybe one can be safe to expect a little more from FI this season

    5. Lol, Redbull at the bottom of the timesheets.. I know times mean nothing, still.. You know what I’m saying..

      1. I don’t think we know what you are saying. Their best lap was on medium tyres.

      2. Things change very quickly in F1.

    6. hey keith i think you miss wrote vettel for kimi in third para

    7. “Ferrari as Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel respectively set laps within 0.3 seconds of what Hamilton managed”

      Vettel…?

    8. Have McLaren got a Welsh sponsor?

      All these leeks…

      1. ^ And he’ll be here all weeks folks!

    9. If McHonda can’t at least get 60-70 laps tomorrow…

    10. Spotted a Murray-ism:
      “Williams and Ferrari appeared to narrow the gap to Ferrari as….”

      1. This is why Ferrari have been struggling in recent years… They’ve been chasing their own tail!

        1. Jean-Christophe
          28th February 2015, 21:02

          Brilliant haha

      2. @david-beau
        That’s funny ;)

        Could Keith be channeling Murry ?

        I’ve been wondering when we might get to hear a Brundle-Collantine race call,

    11. make no mistake, any sport involving sponsors is in the entertainment business. The only reason many sports exist as they do is because of sponsors, the only reason sponsors provide sponsorship is because large numbers of people watch the sport, the only reason large numbers of people watch is because it’s entertaining. . Sponsors don’t care about the minority of fans who find a sedentary competition enjoyable.

      But I think the real issue here is that Mercedes advantage is being safe-guarded by the engine homologation rules which are anti-competitive and diminishes the achievement involved. A former of protection the likes of RBR and other dominant teams of years past never had the luxury of.

      1. @guybrushthreepwood I believe the homologation rule is there to prevent development costs escalating, not to safe-guard Mercs advantage. I also believe that by now every team has had ample time to catch up, and had every opportunity over the last 3 or 4 years to come up with a system as good as Mercedes, but they just didn’t. For example, the price Renault paid for lagging behind now is Championships previous to last year, so they only have themselves to ‘blame’ for not doing a better job preparing for the new chapter in F1. So let’s not make it sound like Mercedes came up with the best PU/car, and THEN F1 decided to lock that advantage in for them, like they somehow would prefer only two cars out there with a realistic shot at winning each race. All the teams have been on an equal footing from the getgo with this new chapter. Merc just did a better job, and probably because people are already assuming 4 WDCs in a row for LH, want to already punish them for being the current best.

        Also, the most extreme example of protection was afforded MS/Ferrari in that era, when Ferrari had the weight of 3 to everyone else’s 1 on the board, including veto power on any rule changes, not to mention their extra 100 mill just because they are Ferrari.

    12. I don’t want to sound as an alarmist towards McLaren, or come off as over the top about their situation. Having said that, there must be some worry within the team as to whether both cars will make the finish line in Melbourne.

      Other than Button’s 101 laps yesterday there haven’t been many bright points, and even his car broke down at the end of the day! It’s starting to look like the first few races will be little more than an extension of pre-season testing for them. To be honest I can see some advantages in them treating those races as such. It’s becoming pretty clear that Mercedes will be comfortably ahead of the pack and as such McLaren won’t be concerned with winning races or fighting for the Championship. Why not sacrifice being in any way competitive at the start of the season in order to iron out the car and use the track time to build a solid foundation from which to improve?

      It wouldn’t look good for the sport or McLaren to have them trundle around and pretend they’re testing when they’re actually racing, but sacrificing short term results for long-term gain sounds like something that would be attractive to someone as pragmatic and ruthless as Ron Dennis.

      1. @colossal-squid No…no need for alarm at all. I’m sure Mac and Honda would have preferred a better set of testing days, but I think even they realize the odds were always greater that they were going to have the days they have had, rather than to have nailed their package and immediately come out of the box fast and reliable and able to work on race setups.

        It just is what it is. A work in progress, and if they could actually end up fighting for podiums by seasons end that would be huge for them. I’m sure they had hopes of being further along by now, but I doubt they or anyone realistically thought they’d be immediately fighting for wins against the mighty Mercs. Besides, if you believe most people’s assumptions already, everyone but Merc still has a long way to go, so McHonda needn’t feel alone.

        1. @robbie That’s certainly a more reasoned approach to their situation than mine!

          I think you’re probably right, it’s not going well but they were probably prepared for this. Hard to get a sense of their progress from the outside looking in, and F1 teams by nature are secretive.

          The way I hope it goes is that they have a season a lot like 2009 – a poor start but by the second half of the season they were back at the sharp end. Like you said Mercedes are beyond their reach but fighting with Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari at the end of 2015 would be great to see! Fingers crossed.

    13. Mercedes has a big advantage.

    14. I am 64 years old, have been following F1 since 1962 I never get tired of it. I don’t care if Hamilton wins every race.
      Or Max Chilton is always last. Obviously I will root for Max Verstappen. I still find it a privelage to watch the highest level of motor racing. It is a fantastic spectacle younger fans need to understand that. How F1 can appeal more to a younger audience I don’t know. Like to hear from younger people why they like or dislike this sport.

      1. I’m 30 have followed F1 from here in Montreal since 1998. All this talk about the playstation generation my age group) wanting this technology & Hybrids systems (supposedly) is rubbish. Nobody I know likes this “new” Formula One. DRS, Pirelli’s that last 5 -8 laps while having to be nursed etc etc etc.

        F1 needs excitement+testosterone , wider tyres, real engines not “power units” (I know this won’t happen), no DRS & no stupid amount of electronics which has drivers flipping switches & nursing tyres to race to a delta time.

        Do I still watch every practice, race & quali? Yes. Will I buy tickets anymore? No way. If some other racing series came along offering the same crap that many of us hate about Formula One. Would we really watch it?

        I think some of us are hanging on this series because of what it was, not what it has become. The great drivers, great racetracks etc.

        This new Formula One, where we are loosing the classic racetracks to other countries who are the highest bidder, proves that is not really the sport we fell in love with.

        Last thing to respond to this question: How F1 can appeal more to a younger audience I don’t know?
        -This F1 won’t allow anybody to have a chance to fall in love with. In how many countries do people have to large amounts to the sport?

        Nobody will randomly fall onto F1 now on TV on a Sunday for that reason. On top of that, the excitement that many of my friends & I got out the beautiful sound on TV to spark our interest is gone.

        1. All this talk about the playstation generation wanting this technology & Hybrids systems

          That’s not something I’ve ever heard. That generation wanting DRS and KERS were things I heard a lot of, but the current hybrid system is to appease manufacturers.

    15. F1 is a sport of speed not management … What is boring is all the limitation on fuel tyres engine and so on… Let them go racing flat out for every lap and f1 will win again!!!

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